Bishop David McGough, auxiliary of Birmingham archdiocese for Staffordshire; confirmed six youngsters on Sunday 13th May according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Pontificale, at St Joseph's Church in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the last of the Catholic Rites of Initiation, usually following Baptism and First Holy Communion. It is traditionally administered by the local Bishop, and provision in the UK, using the Extraordinary Form, has been very sparse. It is usually only an annual ceremony in London organised by the Latin Mass Society.
The Bishop entered the sanctuary in simple procession, with cope, mitre and crozier, flanked by Deacons and Acolytes ready to take his pontificalia in veiled hands. As the Bishop sat in throne on the Epistle side of the sanctuary, the confirmands approached with their sponsors to receive the sacrament whilst knelt in prayer.
His Lordship, having imparted the Pontifical blessing, returned to the Sacristy to prepare for Mass.
The parish church, recently having undergone urgent structural repairs, is under the care of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate; an order famed for their 'Day with Mary' outreach, and their regular use of the Old Roman Rite.
The evening culminated in a hearty supper prepared by regulars to the Franciscan's family days, which happen once per month. It was truly an honour to have such ceremony outside the Capital, and our particular thanks go to Fr Agnellus Murphy (parish priest) and His Lordship, who made the day possible.